Recombinant DNA Technology Altering the DNA of an Organism by • Adding new DNA • Modifying existing DNA
The Organism that Results is called: • Genetically Modified • Genetically Engineered or • Transgenic
Most Genetically Modified food crops have been created to be herbicide and insecticideresistant • • Soybeans Corn Cotton Conola
Other GM crop examples are • sweet potato resistant to a virus that could decimate most of the African harvest • rice with increased iron and vitamins that may alleviate chronic malnutrition in Asian countries • a variety of plants able to survive weather extremes
Future Developments… • bananas that produce human vaccines against infectious diseases such as hepatitis B • fruit and nut trees that yield years earlier • plants that produce new plastics with unique properties
Benefits of Genetic Modification • Enhanced taste and quality • Reduced maturation time • Increased nutrients, yields, and stress tolerance • Improved resistance to disease, pests, and herbicides • Cold tolerance • Increased food security for growing populations • Environmentally Friendlier bioherbicides and bioinsecticides
Benefits of Genetic Modification • Nutrition Malnutrition is common in third world countries where impoverished peoples rely on a single crop such as rice for the main staple of their diet. However, rice does not contain adequate amounts of all necessary nutrients to prevent malnutrition. If rice could be genetically engineered to contain additional vitamins and minerals, nutrient deficiencies could be alleviated. For example, blindness due to vitamin A deficiency is a common problem in third world countries. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Institute for Plant Sciences have created a strain of "golden" rice containing an unusually high content of beta-carotene (vitamin A). Since this rice was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, a non-profit organization, the Institute hopes to offer the golden rice seed free to any third world country that requests it.
Benefits of Genetic Modification • Pharmaceuticals Medicines and vaccines often are costly to produce and sometimes require special storage conditions not readily available in third world countries. Researchers are working to develop edible vaccines in tomatoes and potatoes. These vaccines will be much easier to ship, store and administer than traditional injectable vaccines.
Controversies of Genetic Modification • Potential human health impact: allergens, transfer of antibiotic resistance markers, unknown effects • Potential environmental impact: unintended transfer of transgenes through cross-pollination, unknown effects on other organisms (e. g. , soil microbes), and loss of flora and fauna biodiversity
Controversies of Genetic Modification • Domination of world food production by a few companies • Increasing dependence on industrialized nations by developing countries • Biopiracy—foreign exploitation of natural resources
Controversies of Genetic Modification • Violation of natural organisms' intrinsic values • Tampering with nature by mixing genes among species • Objections to consuming animal genes in plants and vice versa • Labelling is not mandatory in some countries (e. g. , United States) • Mixing GM crops with non-GM